Before They Were Called: LDS Apostles Previous Occupations

Prior to being called to their positions as General Authorities, today's 15 Apostles worked full-time jobs. Each contributed much of their time and talents to those communities in which they operated. Once called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy and in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Brethren are asked to devote all of their time and effort to serving in the church and leave their paying jobs. Below is a list of today's Apostles and their occupations before they were called as General Authorities:

Thomas S. Monson: General Manager of the Deseret News Press

Monson had a distinguished career in printing and publishing. Monson's first job out of college was with Deseret News where he quickly climbed the ranks and became an advertising executive. He also served as an executive in the advertising division of the Newspaper Agency Corporation. Some time later, he was named sales manager and then general manager of the Deseret News Press, the largest printing plant in the United States west of the Mississippi River at the time. Monson also served for many years as a board member of several prominent businesses.




Russell M. Nelson: World Renowned Heart Surgeon

Nelson is an internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and medical researcher. Nelson is know for building the first heart-lung bypass machine used on a human. He then used that machine to perform the very first open-heart surgery in Utah. Many honors and awards have been given to Nelson for his work in the medicine world. He has authored numerous publications and chapters in medical textbooks, lectured and trained all over the world, and served as president, chairman, and director of many organizations. 



Dallin H. Oaks: Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, President of Brigham Young University

Oaks practiced law in Chicago and was also a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School, the same school he received his Law Degree. He mainly taught in the fields of trust and estate law, as well as gift taxation law. Oaks served as president of BYU from 1971-1980. He was appointed as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court from 1980-1984. Oaks has been an officer or member of the board of many educational, business, and charitable organizations. He is also the author or co-author of many articles and books on legal and religious subjects.



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M. Russell Ballard: Businessman, Owner of Ballard Motor Company

Ballard was involved in several enterprises, including investment businesses, real estate, and automotive. He was the top salesman for his father's Nash car dealership when he left to pursue other business interests in the 1950s. Ballard soon returned (1956) and took over the Ballard Motor Company from his father Melvin. He also served in the United States Army Reserve during this time. Ballard was also the president of the Valley Music Hall in Bountiful, UT, which offered family entertainment,  where he worked with Hollywood celebrities who were advisers to the enterprise. 


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Robert D. Hales: Business Executive

During his professional career, Hales served in executive positions with four major national companies.  After joining the Gillette, Co., he became the president of Papermate, a division of Gillette.  Then he joined Max Factor, as a vice president, and later headed Hughes Television Network, a sports broadcasting network.  Just prior to his call to be a General Authority, he was president of Cheesebrough-Pond’s.


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Jeffrey R. Holland:  President of Brigham Young University

After earning his Ph.D., Holland served as an institute director in Salt Lake City. He then was appointed to Dean of Religious Education at BYU. He served as the eleventh commissioner of the Church Education System from 1976-1980. Holland succeeded Dallin H. Oaks as president of BYU in 1980 and served as president until 1989. 



Henry B. Eyring: President of Ricks College, Professor of Business

Eyring embarked on a career in academics after his graduation from the Harvard Business School.  He worked as an associate business professor at the Standford Graduate School of Business and also as a Sloan Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  He served as President of Ricks College and as the Commissioner of the Church Educational System.


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Dieter F. UchtdorfSenior Vice President of Flight Operations, Fighter Pilot

Uchtdorf earned both his fighter pilot wings for the West German Air Force and the United States Air Force, before joing Lufthansa Airlines as a pilot.  He reached the rank of Captain with Lufthansa and was appointed as head of Lufthansa’s new Arizona Flight Traning School.  In 1980, he was made head chief pilot of cockpit crews, followed by appointment as senior vice president of flight operations in 1982, at which postiion he fulfilled until his call as a General Authority.



David A. Bednar: President of BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College)

Bednar began his career in education as assistant professor of management in the respected business schools of University of Arkansas then Texas Tech Univeristy.  He became the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the University of Arkansas before five years later becoming the president of Ricks College.  There he lead the instrumental change of turning Ricks College into a four year university known today as BYU-Idaho.



Quentin L. Cook: Corporate Attorney

Cook worked for 27 years as a corporate attorney, becoming managing partner of Carr, McClellan, Ingersoll, Thompson and Horn in the San Fransisco Bay area.  Later in his career, he served as President and CEO of California Healthcare System.  He also volunteered for 14 years as a city attorney.


D. Todd Christofferson: Lawyer

In addition to practicing law in Washington DC, Tennessee, and North Carolina, Christofferson was an associate general counsel for NationsBank (now Bank of America).  He was also one of the first two people outside of the White House to hear the Watergate tapes, as he was a clerk for Judge John J. Sirica at the time.



Neil L. Andersen: Business Executive

During his professional career, Andersen worked in business and became Vice President of Morton Plant Health System.  Later Andersen would own his own advertising agency.



Ronald A. Rasband: Business Executive

During his professional career, Rasband worked in business and became President and Chief Operating Officer for the Huntsman Chemical Corporation.


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Gary E. Stevenson: Business Executive

In the late 1970's, Stevenson and his college classmate started Weslo, Inc., a small business that imported Asian kitchen and tableware, marble products, and wood-burning stoves. In the early 1980's, they shifted their focus to fitness products and began manufacturing trampolines, and then under the name ProForm Fitness Products, treadmills, exercise bikes, indoor rowers, and home gyms. Weslo, Inc. was acquired in 1988 by Weider Health and Fitness. In 1994, Weider sold Weslo and ProForm to a group led by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital for US$450 million. The companies were renamed ICON Health and Fitness, Inc. Today, ICON is the world's largest manufacturer of exercise equipment with a wide range of brands like NordicTrack, ProForm, Weider, Altra, FreeMotion Fitness, and sells a full line of equipment under the Gold's Gym brand name. 



Dale G. Renlund: Cardiologist, Professor, Medical Director

Renlund began his professional career as a practicing cardiologist for six years before he began teaching at the University of Utah for five years.  The next 18 years of his professional career were spent as Medical Director at the Utah Transplantations Affiliated Hospitals Cardiac Transplant Program.